The version that I read was a twentieth anniversary edition of Robert Harris's breakthrough novel. In the forward, he explainsWhat an excellent book!
The version that I read was a twentieth anniversary edition of Robert Harris's breakthrough novel. In the forward, he explains how the concept of a work of fiction based on a world in which Germany had prevailed as victors in WWII. It came to him, in the eighties, when he was researching for a non-fiction book about Hitler's forged diaries. Consequently there is a lot of factual basis to the story. But it was written almost by accident.
Fatherland is enacted in the sixties. This is so that many of the principal characters of the Third Reich, including Adolph Hitler himself, could realistically still be living. The crimes which are being investigated by Xavier March, an ex U-boat commander turned detective, occur during the build up to Hitler's 75th birthday celebrations in Berlin. There is a great deal of animosity between the criminal investigation branch of the police force, and the Gestapo. The state is based on fear. People are still grassing on their fellow citizens, and even family, for capital crimes such as homosexuality and expressing anti-state sentiments.
When Zavi is called on to investigate the discovery of a body on the shore of the Havel lake, life quickly becomes dangerous for him. The victim is a very senior public figure. The Gestapo become involved, and order the criminal investigator to back off. Smelling a huge rat, Zavi ignores the order, to his peril.
The descriptions of post war, triumphalist Berlin, with its monstrous statues which out-do anything ever seen in any other European capital city by a long way, reminds me of Caucescu's Bucharest of the eighties. It could do easily have become reality in sixties Berlin.
There is even a reference to the Nazi state frowning on the student rapture which greets a band from Liverpool, in the British colony of the Reich!
Needless to say, Investigator Much continues to dig a deeper and deeper hole for himself. The enormity of the events which lay behind the initial murder, and subsequent horrors, builds the tension and grips the reader.
Harris's imagination and creativity verge on genius. This is truly a thriller. Read it!...more
I have always been a prolific reader and sometimes have as many as five books on the go at any one time, picking up the one whEasily makes my top five
I have always been a prolific reader and sometimes have as many as five books on the go at any one time, picking up the one which most suits my mood.
This book is absolutely brilliant and so beautifully touches the emotions of the reader. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I cried often and long and deep.
It is clear that William Horwood has been close to cerebal palsy and his daughter, Rachel, does suffer from this condition.
The central figures are Arthur, a sufferer from the early part of the twentieth century, and Esther, a sufferer from the latter part of the same century. It explores the massive differences between the ways that they were perceived and the ways that they were treated because of those perceptions.
Esther embarks on a quest to find Skallagrigg, without knowing what it is, and you must read the book to find out if she succeeds and what it means.
The reader is drawn into the characters and I found myself living the rollercoaster emotional existance of both of them.
I am constantly recommending this book to friends and family. Many of them find it difficult to get into the story but I encourage them to persevere. Whilst I can understand their difficulty, I had no trouble whatsoever and was captured from the first paragraph.
If you are only ever going to read one more book in your life, it would have to be this one and no other. Trust me!...more
Many people have summarized the story contained in this book already, so I won't bore you with further description of what it is about.
I listened to tMany people have summarized the story contained in this book already, so I won't bore you with further description of what it is about.
I listened to the audio book, on the recommendation of my long-term Goodreads friend, Chrissie. I am so happy that she made that recommendation and that I followed it.
Both the writing and the narration are superb.
Allow me to deal with the narration first. Morven Christie had obviously worked extremely hard with an Icelandic tutor to get all of the pronunciation exactly right. At least it sounded completely authentic to me. Her diction, her elocution, was perfect. Of course she was reading one of the best pieces of fiction to hit our bookshelves in recent years, but she did so with flawless execution. Her voice totally captures the listener.
The only health warning that I would add to my high praise for Morven, is that it is not a book to listen to whilst lying on a sunbed, as I was. Her voice can easily send you to sleep!
I paused after the second CD and listened to the rest of the book in my car on the way to and from work. Luckily, I remained awake long enough to stay on the road until I reached my destinations. Thus, I was able to enjoy the whole book in about five days.
Now on to the writing itself.
Hannah Kent, as she acknowledges at the end of the book, she has been assisted by so many people in her meticulous research of the various accounts, and of the official documents, relating to the last execution in Iceland in 1830. That effort has paid off.
The author admits that some of the accounts are contradictory and that there were many differing opinions surrounding the case at the time. By weaving an historical fiction around the threads of those account, Hannah Kent has managed to present a neutral case, neither siding with the convicted murderer, Agnes Magnusdottir, nor against her. Feelings ran high at the time. Some of the population despised her, even labeling her as a witch, whilst other doubted her guilt, or at the very least sympathised with her motive.
Somehow, in her writing, she manages to get right inside the heads of all of the main players, including the victims. As a "reader", you can actually feel their sentiments. Not only that, but the relationships between the people in nineteenth century Iceland, how they lived, how they endured the hardships of their lives as owners of crofts and as servants of such farmers, the weather conditions, the barren landscape, the value of each small possession, the importance of their animals and harvests, the impacts of society and religion, are all brought to vivid life. An amazing, three dimensional image of all of those elements is built up in one's mind to such realistic levels, that one feels a part of it.
There is not much more that I can say, without going into the details of the story, and doing what I promised not to do: summarizing it.
All I can say to you in conclusion is that, if you do not follow my recommendation to read, or listen to, this book, then you are missing a huge opportunity. You simply must put it on your to-read list and promote it to somewhere near the top. Trust me!...more
I don't know how Howard Loring thinks of all the creative twists of these time travel novels. He has some imagination, which I admire greatly. I aspi I don't know how Howard Loring thinks of all the creative twists of these time travel novels. He has some imagination, which I admire greatly. I aspire to being this good a writer. I actually believe that he cheats. He really is a time traveller, and therefore has a great, and unfair, advantage over the rest of us poor mortals.As with his first novel, Piercing the Elastic Limit, it takes some time before the unravelled ends of the rope start coming togehter to form a rope. In the analogy that he actually uses in this book, it is more like the tributaries of a great river, of time, coming together to form the powerful body of water meandering its way through the jungle towards the might ocean. Having read numerous time travel books, from Robert Heinlein and HG Wells onwards, I have always thought of "The Arrow of Time" being straight, true and swift. Loring puts me in mind of the spaghetti of time: locate the end of a strand, and guess which other end it is connected to.In this story, there are a team of leaders who are seeking out the "heretic" who is jeopardising the future, or should that be the past?, of the whole universe. Who is who? In what time frame? And where? And when?It is fun to puzzle out the answers to all of these questions as you read through. Go for it! I recommend this book to all time travel fans.One quote from this book, which I particularly like, has to be mentioned in this review."What rubbish anyway, he thought with scorn, an all-powerful god that was everywhere at once yet nowhere to be seen. These grunts believe anything, he thought with distaste."By the way, I thought of two of the characters as a likely, abandoned and alone on the planet, Adam and Eve, long before the author revealed them as such at the end of the book. That was a bit of a 2001: A Space Odyssey moment. ...more
This is an absolutely brilliant recipe book; totally packed with excellent information.
On the (slightly) down side, there are less pictures in this boThis is an absolutely brilliant recipe book; totally packed with excellent information.
On the (slightly) down side, there are less pictures in this book than any other recipe book that I have ever seen. Infact, there are only four pictures in the entire 167 page volume, and these all appear on the front and back cover as well as being hidden away between those covers.
However, the lack of mouth-watering images does not detract from the content of this book. In fact, such images could be distracting and make one feel inferior whilst failing to reproduce such perfect dishes.
The there are over 100 recipes from, as the title implies, all over the world. There is something to tempt every palate here, and the variety of dishes encourages one to explore new territories.
There is a twenty page introduction to the book, which is very well worth reading, particularly if you have been recently diagnosed. It goes through the symptoms, the differences between type 1 and 2 diabetes, explains GI and GL, tells you how you can still have an exciting and varied diet, possibly even more exciting and varied than you were consuming before your diagnosis, all the food classes to enjoy and to look out for, and even gives you advice about eating out and snacking.
The recipes all look fairly easy to prepare. They have notes from the author about how she and her family discovered them and how they can be varied to suit your tastes. They also have very useful information about calorific value, fat, carbohydrate and sugar content, and protein and dietary fibre content, for every dish. All of these factors are important to people who wish to eath healthily whether you are diabetic or not.
Finally, there are a number of great lists at the end of the book. There are suggested shoppiing lists, GL and GI content tables for manyh foods and drinks, and some useful addresses. Sadly, for the international readership, the addresses are mainly in UK, but the internet is a wonderful thing, and you are bound to find equivalent shops and organisations in your own country.
All in all, this is a superb book, and I would recommend it to everyone who would like to eat healthily and still enjoy their food. It is not exclusively for diabetics!...more
This has to be the most hilarious fairy tale that I have ever read! Not only is it very, very funny, but it is also very very naughty too.
The pure andThis has to be the most hilarious fairy tale that I have ever read! Not only is it very, very funny, but it is also very very naughty too.
The pure and virginal Princess Amalia is plagued by the presence of a penis growing in her bed. She tells her parents about it, and the King does everything in his power to get rid of the rogue penis. The mattress is destroyed. The bed frame is destroyed. The Princess's bed is moved to teh almost inaccessible tower.
In the meantime, a marriage of convenience is arranged with the Prince from a neighboring, rich kingdom.
The Princess's aunts investigate and try to help.
More hilarity ensues.
And there is an unexpected ending. Well, not if you are an aficionado of fairy stories, maybe.
This is a quick read, and I am sure that you will all love it.
Although this book gallops along at Conn Iggulden's usua(In UK, this book is entitled "Wolf of the Plains") A more harsh childhood is hard to imagine!
Although this book gallops along at Conn Iggulden's usual pace, I was continually tempted to leap ahead to find out what happened next. That makes it much more of a chapter-turner than merely a page-turner, and the narrative left me quite breathless at times!
Temujin is the son of the khan of one of the many Mongol tribes who are in continual, violent conflict. Without spoiling the story for you, his circumstances force him to grow up very quickly rather than lose his life. As the story unfolds, Temujin faces death many times and learns from his terrifying experiences. His list of those on whom he determines to wreak revenge grows as you read. Eventually, he becomes the respected, feared and uncompromising leader of the great horde which dominated two continents during that age.
Had his childhood been easy, he would probably have settled down with a couple of wives and a few goats. Historic record shows otherwise, but that record hardly brings Ghengis Khan's tale to life in the way that Iggulden has managed in this book.
I would recommend this book to anybody, and would challenge them to resist being swept along by such a brilliantly told story. I just can't wait to get my hands on the next episode, "Lords of the Bow," in January 2008....more
Last Chance to See is a wonderful book by the late Douglas Adams. It is not Science Fiction. It is his account of his travels around the globe to obseLast Chance to See is a wonderful book by the late Douglas Adams. It is not Science Fiction. It is his account of his travels around the globe to observe some of the planet's most endangered species. It also contains liberal smatterings of his customary humour. He also shows us his great insight and compassion. Such a shame that he moved on before any of the creatures that he tells us about in this book....more
This book is packed with brilliant, almost perfect, images of the beautiful Peak District. It is obvious that Karen FrenkelIn the best possible light
This book is packed with brilliant, almost perfect, images of the beautiful Peak District. It is obvious that Karen Frenkel has put a huge amount of effort into capturing all of the scenes, which include landscapes, flowers and rocks amongst many other subjects, in literally the best light possible. There must been a lot of planning and preparation and thought before she finally clicked the shutter on each exposure.
The results are stunning.
Descriptions of each subject accompany every photograph, and she has added a few notes about her approach and the equipment that she used at the end of the book.
Whether you are familiar with the Peak District or living on the other side of the planet, you cannot fail to be inspired by the beauty that Karen has managed to capture through her lens....more
Some people may regard this book as a modern classic. It is certainly the book which brought John le Carre to the fore.
Before I continue, I'd like toSome people may regard this book as a modern classic. It is certainly the book which brought John le Carre to the fore.
Before I continue, I'd like to give you a warning. Please skip the Introduction by William Blake, as it will completely wreck the pleasure that you should get from the story as it reveals all, including the ending. You can go back to read the Introduction.
I well remember the first time that I read this book. I was about fifteen and I was an officer cadet at a Naval school where we could assemble in the mess hall every Saturday evening to watch a big screen feature film. I saw The Spy who came in from the Cold with Richard Burton was on the "Coming Soon" list. I borrowed the book from the school library and read it before I watched the film. I enjoyed both immensely, despite the relatively small differences in the story lines.
Revisiting the book a few decades on has been equally enjoyable experience. As you would expect, my life since those days has given me a different viewpoint, particularly as I served on the IGB (Inner German Border) during my Army days, and spent a lot of time with members of families who had spent years of forced separation from their close relatives. It was so sad.
This book is about the duplicitous games that spies play and how these affect the lives of others. There are lots of descriptions of the plot amongst the hundreds of online reviews, so I am not going to repeat that for you. What I would like to say is that this is a fast-paced story of Cold War espionage which draws you in. Every word and action of every character has to be carefully considered by that person, as any slip could place them in serious danger. That makes the story exciting.
This is one of those books which you simply must place on your have-to-read-before-I-die bookshelf....more